Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 23
Pairing: M/F, F/F, Bi, Poly
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website:
"Enjoying pain with your pleasure is something you either get, or you don't. If you get it, then you don't really need it explained, because you know how good it feels, and if you don't get it then no amount of talking is going to convince you it makes sense."
But sometimes you have to explain the unexplainable, especially if the love of your life needs to understand, or she'll leave you. Jason Schuyler is one of Anita Blake's best friends and favorite werewolves, with benefits. J.J. is his lady love, an old flame from childhood who dances at one of the top ballet companies in New York. She's accomplished, beautiful, and she's crazy about him, too. Neither of them wants to be monogamous, so what could go wrong?
J.J. is enthusiastically bisexual, with an emphasis on the female side of things. She plans to keep sleeping with women, because Jason can't meet that need, just like she can't meet Jason's need for rough sex and bondage. J.J. doesn't understand why Jason isn’t content to go elsewhere for a need she can’t fulfil, so Jason asks Anita to help him explain.
Anita is having her own relationship growing pains with her only female lover ever, Jade. Jason suggests that J.J. might be able to help Anita with her girl problem, while she helps him with his kinky explanations. With some encouragement from a few other lovers in Anita's life she reluctantly agrees, and J. J. makes plans to fly into town for an experience that none of them will ever forget.
Over the years, and over twenty three books in the series, Laurell K. Hamilton has become known for pushing the boundaries when it comes to sex. This series has gone from a strictly monogamous, vanilla hetero-romance to a poly romance with all genders involved, including a few characters that are gender-fluid. I absolutely respect the fact that her characters all seem human with human worries and fears even when they're were-animals or vampires no matter what sexual orientation they might be.
On the surface, Jason appears to embrace that belief yet again. Anita and Jason's girlfriend J.J. are both having trouble accepting things they need to do in the bedroom in order to make their partners happy. Anita needs to become more comfortable with the mechanics of sex with a woman while J.J. needs to learn how to be more dominant in the bed with Jason. The problem I had with this book is the fact that the surface of the book is all there is to the entire story. There's no depth, no character building outside the bedroom, and no larger plot. Jason is clearly an excuse to write "exotic" porn and have it published. It does nothing for the series.
Did I enjoy reading this book? Partly. I like the overall world Hamilton has created for this series and I've become invested in the characters' happiness over twenty three books. However, I found some of the scenes difficult to read because of the amount of awkwardness in the bedroom having a sudden poly relationship introduced caused. I also thought Jade's reluctance to even be in the room and her almost forced involvement was edging towards rape, which I didn't like at all. I was also disappointed in the utter lack of larger plot. This series is was originally about stopping magical crimes and bad magical people before it was too late, but in Jason all of that is forgotten in favor of a lengthy and descriptive romp in the bedroom. Jason was well written and very openhearted, which is why it received two stars instead of the one it really deserved, but overall it was a very bad book.
This book is difficult to recommend. The writing is solid and I like the sexual boundaries that Hamilton is pushing in the publishing world. However, there is nothing in this book aside from porn. There's no depth, no plot, and no real character building. I feel it really detracts from the overall series and therefore cannot recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.